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Cookie Man to double stores in India

March 31, 2008 09:40 IST

Australian Foods, owner of the Cookie Man brand, is on an expansion drive to double its number of stores across India in the next one year. The company has been following a unique model of retailing its cookies through own franchise stores.

Cookie Man products are not sold in any other outlet and their franchise stores are located only in malls. The company will continue with this model for its next batch of outlets as well.

"Currently, we are present in 17 towns with 35 stores, but we are aiming to be present in 24 towns with nearly 60 stores by the end of next financial year. We want to deliver cookies fresh from the oven and that can be done well only if we serve them through stores that are in our control. We will also add four more ranges to our product portfolio," said Pattabhi Rama Rao, president, Australian Foods.

The company has a strong presence in tier-II cities, but is now planning to enhance its reach in tier-I cities as well. It follows the policy of basing its stores in malls, which are high traffic shopping area with optimum visibility.

Through this expansion drive, the company hopes to double its turnover from Rs 20-40 crore (Rs 200 to Rs 400 million). Cookie Man offers products in the range of Rs 420-900 a kg. Cookies are at the premium end of the Rs 5,500-crore (Rs 55 billion) biscuit market in India.

The cookies market is still evolving here but even the domestic biscuit makers such as Britannia have begun to invest in these offerings. However, Australian Foods is not planning to sell its cookies as packaged commodity and would stick to its fresh-bake concept.

To maintain its quality standards, the company makes the dough for the cookies only at its 25,000 sq ft facility in Chennai. This dough is then transported to rest of the franchise stores at storage temperature of 18 degree celsius.

The company as part of its deal with the franchisees also centrally supplies all the other needs such as packaging and provides marketing support through a promotional fund.

Australian Foods is an Indo-Australian joint venture that introduced Cookie Man in India in January 2000. The lack of recognised cookie players in India motivated the company to enter the market with a premium range of cookies with recipes developed at its research and development centre in Australia.

The company has introduced three to four more ranges of cookies to its portfolio here. It currently has 60 varieties of cookies in India.

Ruchita Saxena in Mumbai